The Atlantis resort on Paradise Island.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
ATLANTIS is considering postponing its reopening until November, Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said yesterday.
“They haven’t given me a specific date that I’m aware of but in our discussions it seems a period slightly before Thanksgiving and I think they caveat it to say ‘we’ll gauge to see how the situation is going and will make an adjustment if it’s to be before then’,” he told reporters at the House of Assembly.
“They indicate that within ten to 14 days they could get that hotel back up but everyone seems to believe that (with) Baha Mar saying they will open up the first week of October, they may end up moving in sync because when you do that, it makes sense to get the airlift back, to build that scale.
“Our first objective is to get the current situation under control. When we go back to opening up to international travel obviously now we’ve had a learning situation and we know what the issues are and we will put in place the necessary protocols to ensure that we don’t resurge. You are constantly battling in this position. On the one hand you’re advised to keep everything locked down. And then on the other side you have people saying I need to go to work, I need to feed my children, I need a job, so it’s trying to strike that balance and it’s the hardest thing to do.”
Mr D’Aguilar said Atlantis has not indicated whether it will lay off any staff.
“We can’t bury our heads in the sand,” he added. “We can’t imagine that it’s going to open up and go right back to what it was and all those people will go back to work. I’m sure there’s some discussions even internally among themselves about what they’re going to do and how they’re going to ramp up.”
Baha Mar, which plans to reopen on October 1, recently indicated it will lay off 1,200 employees and began this process several weeks ago.
Atlantis recently announced that it has opted for an “extended closure” until the health risks from COVID-19 subside. Its move came days after the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention extended its ‘no sail’ order on the cruise industry until September 30, 2020.
Atlantis was previously set to reopen on July 30.
“The extension comes as the growing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reported across the resort’s key U.S. markets continues to rise,” the resort said in a statement earlier this month. “Atlantis is tracking new information daily and will share reopening updates on its website and through its social media channels.
“Since the onset of the pandemic, Atlantis remains vigilant in its actions to protect the health and safety of its guests and team members.”
This week, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced a ban on international commercial travel except from the United Kingdom, Canada and the European Union. Private flights and pleasure boats are still allowed entry from the United States, providing visitors meet COVID-19 entry protocols.